Stroke is a disease of the old, but surprisingly an increasing number of young adults are reporting having experienced it, and it's getting worse over time. Just like in stroke in older people, reducing risk factors is the key to preventing a stro
According to new research, more are more people are having strokes at a younger age. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Neurology suggests that stroke is a disease of the old, but surprisingly higher proportion of younger patients are having strokes, and it's getting worse over time.
Stroke is a medical emergency which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or, more commonly, when there is a blockage. Without intervention, cells in the brain quickly begin to die and it can turn out to be a serious disability or death.
Poor Diet – A poor diet is to be blamed for increase in stroke cases in people of younger ages. It can contribute to stroke in a significant way. Too much of cholesterol and fat in the diet can build-up plaque and can lead to arteries that are narrowed. Excess of salt may contribute to high blood pressure and too many calories can lead to obesity (one big reason for strokes), and increase the risk for stroke. One must eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish to lower their stroke risk.
Unhealthy Behaviours – The behaviours that increase the risk of stroke are smoking, getting too little exercise and heavy use of alcohol.
Uncontrollable Risk Factors – Having a family history of strokes and age are some stroke risk factors that are beyond your control. Moreover, men are more likely to have stroke.
Stroke in Young Adults
According to S. Ausim Azizi, MD, head of the neurology department and professor of neurology at the Temple University Medical School in Philadelphia, stroke in people under age 45 requires a different approach to treatment and management. This is because there can be many different causes for it. In youngsters, the common causes of stroke are infections, trauma, heart disorders, sickle cell disease and dehydration.
Cardiogenic causes such rheumatic heart disease, heart valve abnormalities, and being born with a hole between the right and left side of the heart (patent foramen ovale) are the reasons behind more stroke cases in young adults. Moreover, drug use, especially intravenous drugs, is another factor that may lead to stroke.
A substantial number stroke cases under age 45 are caused by a dissecting blood vessel in the neck. It is a small tear in a big blood vessel which leads to blood clot that travels to the brain. Among other causes that have been associated to younger stroke age include migraine, pregnancy, birth control pills and smoking.
The Bottom Line
Stroke in young people means a loss of many productive years and many years of recovery. Just like in stroke in older people, reducing risk factors is the key to preventing a stroke in youth.
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